Taming the trails – a labor of love

Taming the trails – a labor of love

Creating and maintaining trails where people of all ages and walks of life can enjoy quiet natural places is a big part of what we do at Coastal Rivers. What many may not realize is how much work goes on behind the the scenes to make that happen.

It is the loving and dedicated work of dozens of volunteers who make it possible to keep up with nearly 50 miles of trails. Each preserve has at least one volunteer steward, for example, who visits regularly to check for storm damage, broken bog bridges on trails, and other issues. Often the stewards can take care of minor upkeep.

When more major work is required, another group of volunteers is called in: the Trail Tamers, as they are affectionately called. Trail Tamers monthly work parties work on specific stewardship projects, such as building or repairing a bridge, or clearing a section of trail.

This past June and August, among other projects, Trail Tamers put in two work days on the Salt Bay Heritage Trail in Newcastle. There is a lengthy stretch of bog bridging along the salt marsh here, and the bridges frequently drift around during very high tides or storm surges. Reinstalling the bridges is best tackled by a team!

Other work at the Heritage Trail included cleaning up trails, clearing away brush, and working with the Maine Department of Transportation to reroute a section of trail near Route 1 (see photos below).

Trail Tamers work parties are scheduled for the third Thursday of each month, with additional work days scheduled as needed, from March to November. To learn more or to add your name to the Trail Tamers email list, please call Coastal Rivers at 207-563-1393 or email info@coastalrivers.org. Kids under 18 with adult supervision are welcome at all Trail Tamers events.

volunteers mustering at the work sitestrapping down a load of brushmoving a bog bridge on the trailbog bridges on the Salt Bay Heritage Trail

From top left: (1) Trail Tamer volunteers muster at the Salt Bay Heritage Trail. (2) Yes, trail work is fun! (3) A team of heavy lifters tackles a wayward bog bridge. (4) A section of trail along Great Salt Bay.

Trail Tamers photos courtesy of intrepid volunteer Kris Christine.